CSA Week 11

New Potatoes, Cucumbers, Beet Greens, Cilantro, Spinach, Lettuce, Garlic, Dill, Sugarsnap Peas

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• New Potatoes
• Fresh Garlic
• Sugarsnap Peas
• Napa Cabbage or Spinach
• Lettuce
• Cucumbers

• Beet Greens, Salas Mustard, or Pea Shoots

• Cilantro, Dill, or Mint

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Cabbage, Carrots, Green Beans, Summer Squash

This has been the strangest summer weather we’ve had in quite a long stretch. Just enough rain and warmth to grow weeds like crazy, too wet to work ground well or plant, and too wet to cultivate and keep weeds in check. So we’re doing our best. Some things have been happy, others have not.

Most crops are running later than I’d hoped for. Mystery Boxes are delayed a week because things aren’t ready. But I’m thankful that there is just enough to feed everyone, and make a bit of cash at market to cover bills and payroll.

Thanks as always to all of you for being understanding!

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CSA Week 8

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Fava Beans
• Fresh Garlic
• Baby Fennel
• Kohlrabi
• Spicy Salad Mustard or
• Shungiku (Chrysanthemum Greens)

• Red Salanova Lettuce

• Green Salanova Lettuce

• Cilantro

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Napa Cabbage, Sugar Snap Peas, Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, Green Beans

Week 3, 2019

Salad Turnips, Purple Radishes, Leeks, Spring Onions, Sorrel, Pea Shoots, and Spicy Salad Mustard.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Leeks
• Radishes
• Spring Onions
• Pea Shoots
• Baby Turnips with Greens
• Sorrel or Spicy Salad Mustard

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Spinach, Baby Kale, Turnips, Green Shallots

Spring is in full-swing now, and there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. Please accept my apologies for not answering emails promptly. To add to the usual craziness, the walk-in cooler broke, and the estimate for repair was higher than expected, so we’re having to reduce the size of the cooler area and use a new system. This means all harvesting needs to be done the day of distribution, which is just a bit stressful. Hopefully it will be up and running by  next week!

It’s hard to believe, but its already time to plant fall and winter crops. This is a Brussels Sprout seed. They’ll grow in the greenhouse for a month or so, then get planted outside in June, and they’ll be ready to harvest October through the end of CSA season.

The ground has dried out nicely, and we’re getting it worked up as quickly as we can. Fertilizing is a must, and soil-testing has shown that the soil here is deficient in many minerals. Not surprising considering how much rain washes through the soil in the winter months. I’ve become a convert of remineralizing, as well as fertilizing with the Big Three (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium). I truly believe that mineral-rich soil grows more nutrient-dense food, which makes for healthier humans. The crops I’ve grown on these improved sections also seems to taste better.

Gypsum is a rich source of sulfur and calcium. Our soils are deficient in both, and sulfur is necessary for plants to effectively metabolize nitrogen so that they can grow and photosynthesize. The minerals in gypsum originated from ancient hydrothermic vents, and other volcanic activity. Fun Fact: The White Sands of New Mexico are made of grains of crystallized gypsum.

Our soils are deficient in Magnesium and Calcium, and that’s what Dolomite Lime is made from. Most dolomite originated as ancient seabed sediments.

I believe strongly in remineralizing our rain-leached soils with rock powders. Azomite is mined in Utah from a 35 million-year-old volcanic ash deposit, inundated by an ancient sea. It’s brimming with Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium, but also packed full of trace minerals.

The season of dependable rain has passed, and as quick as crops are planted they need to be irrigated. Sprinklers and drip-tape are running constantly. Even with the increased water, the sudden shift in daylength and temperature with the sunny days and frosty nights has caused many crops to bolt, or start flowering. This is normal every year, and this transition week is tricky as far as diversity of product is concerned.

This is how salad turnips look when they’re plucked from the soil…

And this is how Salad Turnips look after they’ve been washed. So pretty!

Because of this, I’m considering skipping next week’s CSA. I have a lot of radishes, turnips, and garlic, and not a lot else. I’m not sure it’s worth everyone’s time to pick up three items. Besides, I could use the extra days of not harvesting for getting crops in the ground. fixing the walk-in cooler, and setting up irrigation. If I do skip one week, it will be made up at the end of the year with extra storage crops and brassicas.

Enjoy the sun, and happy May Day!

Week 1, 2019

Leeks, Arugula, Kale Broccolini, Sorrel, Purple Salad Mustard, Carrots, and Italian Parsley.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Carrots
Kale Broccolini
• Arugula
• Purple Salad Mustard
• Leeks
Sorrel
• Parsley

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Pea Shoots, Radishes, Green Garlic, Spring Onions, Chervil, Dill, Spinach

Ahhhh, Week 1 has Begun! It’s always exciting to start up again, but it’s chaos. I’m essentially a one-person show, and organizing all the CSA names and pickup locations is an art I have not yet perfected. So, my apologies to those whose box was in the wrong location, or who missed out on something because it ran out before I could pick more. And my thanks to those who were flexible and understanding. I will always do my best to right the mistakes, so be sure and let me know if something is awry.

I planted a greenhouse full of purple radishes in early March, and they’re nearly ready!

To begin the season, I rely on overwintered crops. These are things that were planted last summer and fall. Most of them survived, but some did not. The freezing and snow of February did in the turnips and sprouting broccoli. Rabbits ate the broccoli that survived freezing. But the garlic and onions, and leeks from last fall are beautiful. Of all the crops harvested this week, only the arugula and salad mustard were planted this spring in greenhouses.

Little froglet, happily hiding in the greenhouse arugula patch.

Outside, in the field, wild plants are thriving and blooming. They’re not quite pests, as they are covering areas that were planted and harvested last fall and winter. And their blossoms are essential food for the emerging bumblebees and hungry honeybees.

Purple Deadnettle and Wild Speedwell flourish in our wet and warm springs, and they provide vital early food for emerging pollinators.

And, here are the two newest additions to the farm. Surprise calves, two girls. The only thing cuter than a new calf are TWO new calves.

The two newest additions to the farm. Born ten days apart.

 

 

Gearing Up for the First Week of 2019

It’s not too late to enroll in the CSA! 40 weeks of deliciousness, starting in early April! There are still a few open spots.
Click here to download the enrollment form.

If a weekly pickup is too much, try a Mystery Box subscription. Eight monthly boxes of produce, with a touch of unusualness.
Click here to download the enrollment form.

After the freezing and snowing of January and February, what a gift it was to have sunny, warm weather in March. So many things are planted!

It’s been a warm and sunny week—the temperature topped out at 85° on Tuesday! While it was a shock, it dried out the wet ground nicely and I was able to get a bunch of things planted. Based on the early springs of the last two years, I had planned on starting the CSA and Farmers Market Season the weekend of March 28. However, the endless freezing nights and snowy days created delays in growth of overwintered crops, as well as early sowings outside.

First crop of beets have popped up.

I started planting in soil, inside the hoop houses in February. But it was so cold (some nights were 17°) that it took quite a long time for them to germinate. Now that we’ve had some warmth, all of the crops I planted inside have sprouted. It’s a relief to see the seedlings in their rows: Carrots, Beets, Turnips, Arugula, Mustard, Chervil, Cilantro, Dill, Miners Lettuce, and Spinach. Up in the heated greenhouse at Auburn Mountainview High School, the Basil, Parsley, Thyme, Green Onions, Leeks, Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, and Artichokes are all clipping along nicely.

The earliest carrots come from planting in a greenhouse in February. They’re up!

I’ve checked again on the overwintered crops (things that were planted last fall, and hardy enough to handle the winter, and be ready for spring harvest) like Spring Onions, Green Garlic, and Kale have done ok, but the Purple Sprouting Broccoli was severely damaged by temperatures as low as 12° on some of those January Snowpocalypse nights, and the wild rabbits helped themselves to a number of the plants that were visible above the snow. I would have hoped for more, but spring is a bit of a gamble.

I put up trellis in one of the greenhouses for the early peas. Fingers crossed now for peas in May. I started plants back in early February, and in another week or two I’ll plant the main crop outside.

I’m now planning on starting up the week of April 14, possibly April 7, if the weather stays warm. It all depends on when those early plantings are big enough to harvest. The CSA will still comprise 40 weeks, but I may have to finish up in January or February, like I did this year. I think that was a nice surprise after the holidays anyway.

Green Onions, Parsley, and Basil are all growing well.

Please pay attention to your email and/or the farm Facebook page. I’ll continue to post updates as they’re needed. It’s going to be a fantastic season. I can’t wait!

As soon as the weather warms, the pussy willows bloom. Those furry grey buds are actually flowers, and their pollen is important baby bee food.

 

 

 

CSA PostSeason

It’s not too late to enroll in the CSA! 40 weeks of deliciousness, starting in early April! There are still a few open spots.
Click here to download the enrollment form.

If a weekly pickup is too much, try a Mystery Box subscription. Eight monthly boxes of produce, with a touch of unusualness.
Click here to download the enrollment form.

THE FINAL WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Variety of Squashes
• “German Butterball” Potatoes
• “Norkotah Russet” Potatoes
• Leeks
• Savoy Cabbage
• Purple Brussels Sprouts
• Kale Flower Sprouts

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

This is what was available in Late January: Savoy Cabbages, Leeks, Brussels Sprouts (in purple and green), Kale Flower Sprouts, Potatoes, Parsnips, Squash, and Daikon.

Due to the severe cold snap we had in early December, we weren’t able to finish out the CSA season as planned. Instead, I opted to let a few things size up for another month, and harvest in January. As a result, we had some tasty treats in the dearth of winter!

After that final week’s harvest in January, I went to Nevada for some desert exploration. This is what I returned to! Snowpocalypse and mayhem at the airport! Luckily Regina had cleared off two of the big houses herself Friday night, and we got the rest taken care of on Sunday before the rain came. Rain on top of snow is very heavy, and can crush the frames. This happened to all of our hoop houses several years ago, so I don’t take the snow threat lightly.

After the first foot of snow, we were threatened by rain. That’s a recipe for crushed greenhouses, so we hustled to remove all the snow. All were saved, but the mountains between the greenhouses have still not completely melted, almost a week later.

Seeds are arriving almost daily, and major planting starts next week! The first early peas are popping up in the greenhouse, thanks to some bottom heat, and I’m hoping to get some early greens and carrots seeded next week. I had hoped to start last week, but even inside the tunnels the temperature was barely above freezing. Why waste seed, and how would I irrigate with frozen water lines?

I planted these babies two weeks ago. Covered them with a cage to keep the rodents from digging them up, placed the flats on a heated sand table to keep them above the chill, and added a cloth cover to help moderate the temperature inside the greenhouse. That was before we knew Snowpocalypse was coming. Somehow, through the days of snow, and the temperatures in the teens, they managed to mostly germinate. A few lost out to mold, but most are popping up today, and I am thankful. Early greenhouse peas for all of the eaters! Look for them sometime in May!

There are just six weeks or so until the CSA and Farmers Market Season starts up here. Soon, we’ll all be eating Rapini and Sprouting Broccoli, Spring Onions and Green Garlic, and munching on the first Radishes, Pea Shoots, Miners’ Lettuce, Dill, and Cilantro. There are also a few experiments in the works. Fingers crossed!

Happy 2019!! It’s going to be a great season!

 

CSA Week 39

It’s an earthy week for vegetables: Daikon, Kohlrabi, Potatoes, Beets, Leeks, Squashes, Kale.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Variety of Squashes
• “German Butterball” or “Elba” Potatoes
• Carrots
• Parsnips
• Leeks
• Baby Daikon
• Celery or Celeriac
Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

So many cabbages, growing so slowly in these short, dark days. They should size up over winter and be ready to harvest in late January.

My season has come to an end; it’s always bittersweet. In one sense, it’s a relief to have a break after harvesting for (almost) 40 weeks. After planting, tending, and worrying over all of the year’s crops since January, a rest is due. But it’s also sad to have it all come to an end.

The purple brussels sprouts are looking great, but they’re a bit small yet. Late January for them, too.

In early December, the farm was hit by a serious cold snap. Other farms to the north and south of here experienced temperatures in the 20’s, but for some reason, that week, the temperature here dropped to 16°. Many plants can handle 25°, and some can handle 20°, but not many leafy crops can drop below 20° and have much left to eat.

The garlic has all sprouted and is growing lots of roots and a little top to feed those roots.

And so the arugula, Swiss chard, and chicories were lost. The celery is edible but has intermittent brown stems in each bundle. All that remains is kale, and not much of that. Of course, the squash was already harvested and stored away, as were the onions and garlic. The root crops are all still fine underground, and they will be fine down to about 10°.

Exciting, though, is that I’m planning a 40th week box somewhere after the middle of January. I’m hoping that in the next 3-4 weeks, the kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbages, and possibly the parsley, will grow enough to make harvestable size. There are potatoes, carrots, and squash in storage, and the leeks will hold perfectly in the field. So keep an eye on your email, and I’ll post an alert on facebook as well.

This is the patch of Purple Sprouting Broccoli, looking amazing for winter growth! Planted in August, these should be producing their lovely purple spears in March! That’s a loooong growing season.

The Brussels sprouts and savoy cabbages are all still alive and well, but very small, because they didn’t get enough water in August. Thus, my plan for the final, remaining week of CSA is to harvest one last round toward the end of January. There will still be potatoes, a little squash, leeks, and carrots, PLUS Brussels sprouts and cabbages. I will be in touch toward the middle of January with an update.

Solstice has passed, and as always, it was a most welcome day. Gone are the shrinking days, and our days will gradually lengthen again to photosynthesizing power. By the end of January, I’ll be planting again. Starting up the growing cycle once again.

I want to use this space to thank all of you—all CSA families—for a fantastic season of food. Many improvements are planned for next year, and I’m excited that many of you will be returning to experience those changes. March will be here before we know it, and so will all of those spring treats: Rapini, Green Garlic, Spring Onions, and fresh Herbs. I hope you all have a lovely, peaceful holiday season and a cozy winter. See you in the Spring!

A lovely sunset view of Mt. Rainier from behind the greenhouse row.